Too many times, coaches put too much stock in a player’s national ranking, which is often one man’s opinion of a player. Why should a Head Coach trust someone else’s opinion more than his own or his staff’s? In a cnnsi article about UCLA’s incoming class, Ben Howland breaks down his recruiting very simply:
“I don’t pay attention to [recruiting rankings],” said Howland. “Darren [Collison] and Russell [Westbrook] weren’t highly regarded guys on the national AAU scene, but they have all the NBA guys frothing over them now. I’m just looking for really good athletes who have quickness and length, and an understanding of how to play.”
This is one of the big reasons I like Howland as a coach. Of course, Howland is not perfect, as he did not recruit Ryan Anderson as heavily as Cal, and he’s now an NBA Draft prospect too. However, in his tenure at UCLA, Howland has proven to be one of the best talent evaluators in the country.